Big Dog Backyard Ultra:
I have never heard so many people swearing at some one all at the same time and in all profanity one can imagine (At this year's Barkley), yet they all return for his race. Only Laz can come up with such ideas, conceptualize, lure runners from across the state and execute it to perfection. And as always, people take the bait. I have newfound respect for this man after Backyard Ultra. I saw this race taking shape from the beginning till it's execution. He comes with such crazy ideas and he puts in so much passion and effort to execute it to perfection in spite of his work issues. He was up by 5:00AM on race day and was awake until 3:00AM the next day, 22 hours straight. Laz, THANK YOU!!

A few weeks before the race:
As soon as I finished running the 3.1 mile trail, I knew runners were going to be in some real pain after a few loops during the real race. Laz asked me to test the trail and he wanted to time us and see what our finish time was going to be like. Even before I could get there, Case ran the trail and clocked under 35 minutes. Case and I ran one more time with my Garmin to measure the course and to see how well we fared. It was tough, for obvious reasons. Sharp turns, steep climbs, roots, rocks, briars and stubs. My T-Shirt was a rag at the end of the loop and my knee was bleeding. Something that happens on Laz's course, all the time.
My entry didn't make it in time and I was glad that I didn't get in. I thought I'll hang around, take pictures, help and mock runners. It all changed. Couple of days before the race, Laz said that there were lots of cancellations and that I am officially IN. I was glad and sad at the same time. Glad because I would get to run this epic race and sad that I am going to suffer. An Ultra with a unique format. Just like "The Long Walk". This unique race consisted of a 4.16 mile loop where the runners had to complete the loop in less than a hour. The race restarts every hour, on the hour, and it repeats until the last runner is standing. If a runner couldn’t, he/she is out.
Race Day:
It was a cold morning. Runners were crawling out of their tents one after the other. It was great to catch up with all my running buddies and get to meet some elite runners,especially Lisa, Dave and Tim. There were several Vol State runners. Juli, Shannon, Diane, John, Abi, Sal and I. Big Dog was in bigloo wondering what we are up to. Before we knew it, the whistle blew thrice at 6:57, twice at 6:58, once at 6:59 and then the cow bell rang at 7:00. The race was ON.
IMGP2131 IMGP2134 A little out and back section on the road with the gas tank as the turn around point and then head inside single track hell, I mean trail. First lap went like a breeze and finished almost 10 minutes ahead of the time but almost 1/3rd of the crowd was missing. They never made it before the hour. Later we found that the runners were stuck in a perpetual loop until they realized and got back to the finish like past the hour but Laz let them run nevertheless as long as they could make up the time in their upcoming lap and sure they did all catch up.
IMGP2139 While the laps were rolling one after the other, Joe, Tim and I followed Mike Melton's foot steps. He paced himself so good that we felt really comfortable at the end of the lap and still had time to eat and drink and take breaks. It was just perfect. He timed it so well. If we make it to a specific section of the trail at a specific time, we were good for finishing that loop. It took us 5 minutes from Laz's house to the finish line and as long as we get there 7 minutes before the hour, we were good with a 2 min break before the start. I wanted to bag at least 8 loops for a 50K finish and wanted to push myself for 10 loops.2011-10-22 at 14-50-26 Bladder went on strike:
By Lap 7, my bladder went on strike. I was drinking good amount of water and electrolytes, eating good but I couldn't damn take a piss. It didn't bother me much until I completed lap 8. Steve was my pacer from then on. I thought I'll run 10 laps and stop. There was an audible frown from the crowd as soon as the whistle went. It was so annoying and frustrating that I really wanted to find the damn whistle and throw it far away into the woods. I hated that tiny little thing like hell. Unfortunately, it was hanging around Gary's neck. The sound of the cow bell was like listening to your death bell. I confessed to Laz later how much I wanted to throw that damn freaking thing off into the woods or duct tape his mouth. Lap 10 is when my lower stomach really started hurting. Running was getting impossible. After finishing lap 10, my race was over. I was done and I was hurting so bad. All I wanted at that point of time was to empty by bladder. When I told Laz that I'm done, he did what he is best at. Talk me into running another loop. I was sitting on top of a cooler realxing when the damn whistle went on again. when the cowbell rang, I couldn't hold myself back. Ok, one more loop, I told myself and started at the back of the pack. Diane, Shannon and every one were cheering for me while Laz just looked at me and smiled. (Thanks John for capturing the video)
Watch right at 1:30

My Death Lap:
I was at the back of the pack. I tried to keep Ray in my sight. He paced himself so good throughout the race. I passed Ray about 3 miles into the loop and made it to the finish just in time. 11 miles in the bag and I was DONE. For sure thing time. Everyone tried to talk me into Lap 12, but my race was over. In any other race, I would have rested a bit and kept going but now here. Not in this death march. You either keep going or you die. A part of me was so desperate to answer the bell for lap 12 but the other part of me simply refused to get up from the ground. It was over. (I was at peace finally at 2 in the morning. Thanks to the cold weather. The best feeling on earth when it was all out. Huh...such a relief). We sat around the fire and saw runners dropping one after the other. Joe barely missed in by 10 seconds. We all sat around the fire passing lies and moonshine. Brats tasted so good. Watching the robot man was entertaining. Lap 18, when Dave dropped, it was Tim Englund, the last standing runner, who ventured into the trail alone, for one last time and finished. The winner of the Big Dog Backyard Ultra. Congrats Tim.
IMGP2147 IMGP2155 019
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I was glad that I ran this epic race. Wish I had kept going but I was glad with my 11 laps and I will definitely be back next year. For the Death march at the Big Trail.


rgrstetson said...

Great report Naresh! I am glad you were able to get in! did not make mention as to whether you would be running it next year or not...Maybe shoot for 12 laps? ;)

Navin Sadarangani said...

Naresh - very neat blog post brother. Just yesterday i was reading the write-up on Joshua's. You guys are amazing man. You for one i know have been only taking the notch higher and higher. I mean, you finish one race, i'm sure you don't have words like taper, rest, recover, etc. in your dictionary, and then before we digest what you just did, you go out there and run another killer of a race. A tougher one. Keep running brother. Keep conquering all the challenges you set out to. Bravo stuff. God speed. Run On!

Tiger said...

Great race report, Naresh! I love the video taken by John. That was pretty neat. You are an awesome runner! Congratulations! Have fun at Pinhoti! The adventures just keep coming!

john.goodie said...

Thanks for the race report Naresh! Interesting stuff as always!

Naresh said...

@ Tiger: Thanks Angela. Big dog Ultra was a blast. Next up is going to be Bartram and I so looking forward to meet you. May be at the Monkey before that?

@John: Thanks so much. I am glad you enjoyed the report.

Siri said...

Naresh, As usual you are "EXTRAORDINARY". We are eally lucky that we get to hear such great adventures, such unlikely ideas and such a great occassions. Ultimate triumph of mind over body. All the best andwe hope to be many such efforts form youe end!